Please excuse the bad audio and the watermark. I had some issues with this program. =/
This project challenged me to capture a story of my life through images. I decided to select photos that showcased different aspects of my life. I feel that a presentation like this could be helpful to introduce myself to my students or even parents at Back To School Night. Storify provides an easy format to share photos and information. Instagram could be used for students to share ideas about what they are learning. For example, I could ask students to post on Instagram whenever they use math outside of the classroom. This would get students thinking about mathematics and would help students to realize how applicable mathematics can be. It would also be helpful to connect with students using a tool that they are already using frequently.
“Since many of the places we now look for information do not carry the institutional warrants that have traditionally been used as markers for accuracy or truth, learning to navigate through and evaluate them-an expanded notion of literacy is now critically important. We need to learn to read in a whole new way.” (p. 96)
The ability to use online tools and resources does require a different set of skills than reading and writing. One must develop a type of literacy that allows them to analyze information, look for truth, and interpret results.
How can I develop math lessons that allow students to make and play, while avoiding the popular, cheesy word problems…”Dear citizen, You have been selected by the president of the U.S. to solve…”?
My 20% project has really allowed me to learn through play. I now know some insider tips to creating centerpieces, information that I have gained from online resources, but I have also acquired original knowledge through my own experimentation.
I liked what the authors had to say about riddles. They explained that once a riddle has been solved, the solution provides more than an answer. It allows the individual to make sense of every piece of information that led to the solution. I want to be able to create math activities built in this way, so that students see more value in their solutions.
Geeking out “includes the ways in which the social functions of hanging out and the exploratory functions of messing around can be harnessed and compounded, through collaboration, to produce specialized knowledge networks and Internet-based communities and organizations.” (p. 104)
In each phase, the user develops skills, which are then expanded upon in the next phase. By the time the user is “geeking out”, they can participate in online learning communities socially, through exploration, and also focusing their interests in order to collaborate with others.
Can I use these same labels in my class (hanging out, messing around, and geeking out) to describe student progress toward learning goals?
I have been using Pinterest, Twitter, Weebly, Instagram, and Google+ to cultivate my PLN. In terms of using these tools as a professional, I was “hanging out” at the beginning of the semester. Now, I can say that I am “messing around” and moving towards “geeking out”. I feel more comfortable with these forms of social media and how they can be used to develop my professional online presence.
Geeking out is where the rich learning experience occurs. Once the user has become accustomed to the tools and has in a sense, found their niche, they can utilize the tools and resources to their fullest potential and learn from being a member of collectives.
“To advance, players experiment within the game and draw from external information sources to construct a very sophisticated learning environment.” (p. 108)
This chapter explored the connections between MMOs and the new culture of learning. The authors argue that there is more to MMOs than simply gaming and there is much to be learned from them. As any game, MMOs allow players to experiment and they use other players as resources for information critical to the game.
If students become so accustomed to a learning environment similar to an MMO, where they look to others for answers, will they be as successful in an environment where the answers are not as easy to find?
I have experienced the new culture of learning through my experience cultivating my PLN as well as working on my 20% project. I have learned to be a member of the “petri dish” and seek out answers through experimenting.
In an MMO, each member must participate and fulfill their personal role in order for their group to succeed. I want students in my classroom to feel as if their participation is critical to their group’s success, because it is.
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him as long as the fish supply holds out. But create a collective, and every man will learn how to feed himself for a lifetime.” (p. 53)
I like that the authors are continuing to add on to this quote. For me, this metaphor is guiding my reading and I like that I can refer back to it to try and make sense of things. Their argument in chapter three was that teaching a man to fish will only feed him for a lifetime if there is an unlimited amount of fish and the strategy for catching fish never changes. In this chapter, the authors argue that by providing the man with a collective, he will have access to an almost unlimited amount of resources and the content will change according to the collective’s needs.
In what ways can collectives be harmful to learning?
In order to gather research for my 20% Project I am participating in a collective on Pinterest. I am pinning things that interest me and are geared towards the learning goal that I have set for myself. My participation in the collective is minimal because I usually pin other users’ posts and do not often add my own. However, my participation is still important because by pinning others’ posts I am increasing their visibility and therefore altering the collective in a meaningful way.
The aha moment I had after reading this chapter was that the aspect missing from classrooms which would transform them from communities to collectives is a desire to participate. All members of collectives choose to be members for a specific reason. So now we must figure out how to get each of our students to make a personal decision to be a member of the collective.
“All the elements of Facebook-content, approaches, personal investments, depth of information, and so on-combined to make forming a study group in which the students could do “whatever they want” very easy. And they learned far more as a collective than they could possibly have done individually. (page 71)
This chapter discussed the many benefits to learning as part of a collective. Participating in an online collective is no different than meeting up for a study group in terms of ethics so it is crazy to think that a college student was punished for starting a Facebook study group page.
In talking about the new culture of learning, the authors state that “the good news is that we get to play again, and we may find even more satisfaction in continuing the search” (p. 73). How do we get students to think this way, to be satisfied by the search?
I had a blog when I was in middle school from a site called Xanga. I used it somewhat like a diary and I’m pretty sure the only people who followed it were my close friends. As an adult, I have only followed one blog and that was pretty short lived. I just don’t feel that I have the time right now to keep up with a blog but I think it could be helpful as a first-year teacher to follow a fellow educator.
My aha moment…”blog” is short for “weblog”! Pretty neat.
“A student cannot ask his teacher to ‘give me your experience’ or ‘tell me what it feels like to solve a problem’ or ‘show me how to innovate.’ We learn those things by watching, doing, experimenting, and simply absorbing knowledge from the things, events, and activities around us.” (p. 78)
To me, this chapter was explaining that we learn best by doing. And in order to learn by doing, we must be given the freedom to do so. Telling my students how to do something will not produce the same result as giving them a set of boundaries and asking them an open-ended question.
With inquiry-based learning, there is a lot of room for freedom. What kind of differentiations are effective and appropriate, but would not interfere with the use of tacit knowledge?
Connection: For a coursework assignment, we were given the task to do a role play of an IEP meeting. But before we could do so, we were expected to participate in actual IEP meetings at our school sites in addition to reading articles and watching videos. I learned more from attending an IEP than I did any of the readings or videos. Actually participating in the process prepared me for the role play and I had more intuition about what to say and how to act.
Epiphany/Aha: I really like the idea that we need to be focusing on “what don’t we know and what questions can we ask” rather than “what do we know”. This allows much more opportunity for creativity and risk.
Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement
At Vista Magnet Middle School, students are constantly collaborating, which helps keep students engaged. I notice that the more experience that students gain working with one another, the more willing they are to discuss the pros and cons of certain approaches to solving a math problem. While I monitor the room I assess students’ discussions and ask students to clarify certain ideas they are presenting to their peers. As a result, there is plenty of communicating student to student as well as student to teacher, which keeps the students engaged and interested. However, I have found that there are days where students get tired of the same routine. Therefore, I am glad that I read “Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement” because I noted that there are other ways to engage students than working with peers. My goal is to commit to getting students out of their seats, bringing more visuals when teaching new concepts, and allowing students to make choices. The reason that I decided to commit to getting students out of their seat is because middle school students are not ready to sit for 90 minutes without moving. I want students to stay engaged so I will allow them to move during tasks. I decided to commit to bringing visuals to class because I believe that students will be able to solidify concepts by recalling the visuals that were presented in class. Student choice is another approach that I am committing to because I want students to enjoy the way they present the new knowledge they learn. Therefore, I believe that by providing them with a choice they will be more engaged in learning new content.
Instagram ELE Challenge
Students are being prepared to participate in a global society through the Instagram ELE Challenge because students are required to utilize new technology as a medium to learn. The world around us is constantly changing and students need to be aware that social media is not only used for “memes” but as a resource to communicate with others. Students will use Instagram as a way to communicate with others and learn new vocabulary. By exposing students to this way of thinking students are being prepared to participate in a global society.
I believe that these teachers empower collaboration and innovation because they are providing students with an opportunity to collaborate with one another through hashtags on Instagram as well as implementing a new approach to learning vocabulary.
Instagram Scavenger Hunt
I am currently at Vista Magnet Middle School and for that reason I do not believe that I can apply the idea of an “Instagram Scavenger Hunt” in my classroom because many of my students do not have smart phones and we do not have frequent access to iPads. However, if I were teaching at a high school I feel that I would enjoy having my students participate in an “Instagram Scavenger Hunt”. I believe that students would be engaged since they use Instagram frequently outside of class. I would modify the idea a little because I would like to try it with Snapchat as well. Many students are using Snapchat nowadays and I feel that could also be used as a learning tool. I would have students post pictures on concepts that we are learning in class and student presentations.
3 Ways Colleges Use Instagram
The three ways that Colleges and Universities use Instagram are by asking questions, feeding other social networks, and encouraging participation during major events. I believe that these implementations are not restricted to Colleges and Universities because nowadays either the student or the parent (or both) have smart phones accessible to them after school hours. I believe that students would be engaged if Instagram was implemented in a way to increase student involvement in schools. What makes Instagram so appealing to the users is that photos provide a snapshot of an idea or event and one can easily decide whether to engage or scroll past. There is choice and it is a quick way to communicate with many people at once. Schools and classrooms can benefit from the use of Instagram because it creates an interactive culture, which in turn engages students and increases student success.
When I was first exposed to Instagram I used it as a means to share pictures of events and places that I was attending, spending time with family, and yes...my food. I did not see an educational purpose to Instagram; however, after reading the articles above I came to realize that there are indeed methods that one can utilize to help students learn and be connected with their class as well as their school. The teachers in the articles have found ways to leverage Instagram in their lessons to keep students engaged as well as a way to encourage participation and learning. I agree that these approaches of implementing Instagram in the classroom have transformed instruction and engagement. Mathematics is a content area that would require students to think critically about pictures that relate to the unit of study. For example, in my sixth grade class we are studying area and perimeter using algebra tiles. Students would not find algebra tiles outside of the classroom but they could think critically to find objects that could serve a similar purpose. Therefore, I believe that the implementation of Instagram in a math class would have to be restricted for appropriate units of study, such as transformations and volume. The articles do align with my beliefs about education because I strive to be innovative and create new ways for student learning. I strongly believe that creating a way to promote learning through social media networks would be a key component to increase student learning and engagement. Students are already using social media networks, so it is important that we create ways to implement them in our students' learning. My goal for the future is to create lessons that require students to use Instagram as a way to learn the content as well as a way to learn from their peers by creating a class hashtag they can all reference.
“The bridge between them-and what makes the concept of the new culture of learning so potent-is how the imagination was cultivated to harness the power of almost unlimited informational resources and create something personally meaningful.” (p. 31)
All of the stories presented in this chapter shared this bridge between the public, online world and a personal, structured world. Each story presented individuals with a thirst for knowledge, coupled with a vast library of resources. I feel that the structure aspect is key. We must find ways to harness the unlimited resources that can be overwhelming at times. Also, if the end goal is to “create something personally meaningful” I feel that this is when real learning occurs.
Has the type of learning discussed in these stories been attempted in a school. If so, what did it look like and what was the outcome?
Like the computer programmer who googled error messages, I often use Google when I am unsure about something for this class. For example, I was unsure how to embed a Twitter feed on my Weebly and by googling my question I was presented with hundreds of results. I chose a Q&A forum in which one of the users provided step-by-step instructions on how to embed a Twitter feed.
When I read, “Having diabetes is very different than living with diabetes,” (p. 30) my mind switched the sentence to “Doing mathematics is different than learning mathematics.” I don’t want my students to simply do math. I want them to discover it, question it, and explain it.
“The primary difference between the teaching-based approach to education and the learning-based approach is that in the first case the culture is the environment, while in the second case, the culture emerges from the environment-and grows along with it.” (p. 37)
Chapter 2 presented the new culture of learning by comparing a teacher-based approach to a learning-based approach. The learning-based approach is of course the one best suited for the new culture of learning. In the learning-based approach, the culture is created by all members of the community and is continually changing. This is unlike the teacher-based approach in which every teacher establishes their own culture within the four walls of their classroom.
If this type of culture is not being cultivated at a school site, where is the best place to go for assistance? Grade-level? Department? Admin?
After reading, “encountering boundaries spurs the imagination to become more active in figuring out novel solutions within the constraints of the situation or context,” (p. 35) I was reminded of a pair of eighth grade math teachers. These math teachers described the way they teach math as allowing students to struggle with a situation until they realize the need for the mathematical tool. In doing so, the students have boundaries because there is information that they have not yet encountered and through exploration, their imagination begins to look for a solution.
Epiphany/Aha: The authors describe a mechanistic approach as one where students are learning like machines and following a specific set of steps. In my classroom, students work in groups most of the day. Students understand that we embrace different methods to solve a problem and have the freedom to choose. In this way, students are learning like humans with brains that can make choices based on their personal preferences and not as machines.
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime…It assumes that there will always be an endless supply of fish to catch and that the techniques for catching them will last a lifetime.” (p. 40)
Although I have always liked this quote, I understand where the authors are coming from in the context of technology and learning. This chapter discusses the constant flow of change and expresses that education must follow suit. We cannot guarantee that the knowledge we “transfer” to students is permanent and therefore, we must be willing to embrace change.
With the rapid changes in technology, I often wonder if companies such as Apple are holding out on the next best thing. Have they already created the next version of laptops and phones? If so, how do they decide when to release new technology?
I have had to embrace change while cultivating my PLN. I was resistant to using Twitter and other forms of social media because I am not the biggest fan of these tools and how they are used most popularly. However, I have embraced social media from the perspective of an educator and am trying to learn how to implement these tools in a useful manner in my classroom.
The last sentence of the chapter says it best; “the challenge is to find a way to marry structure and freedom to create something altogether new.” My aha is that I am not alone in the fact that I also find this to be challenging. My epiphany is that I need to allow my students to explore/play but I also need to give myself freedom as a teacher to explore/play using new methods to figure out what works.